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Showing posts from February, 2014

Review: Rush by Maya Banks

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Post- Fifty Shades erotica intrigues me. Three years ago, it's unlikely that I would have found a book like this at my local bookstore. Not necessarily because it was not been written, published and subsequently stocked at my local bookstore, but because it would have taken up a much smaller shelf, in a far less prominent area in the story and probably would have missed my eye completely. And, I'll be totally honest here. If by some miracle I had of found the book, I would have been far too embarrassed about reviewing it--as it would mean admitting that I had read this kind of trash in the first place. And I'll continue to be honest here. Most post- Fifty Shades erotica, whether it's just been published or enjoying a much larger second print run, is trash. Think repetitive, cliched romances and sex scenes reminiscent of porn. And perhaps those things are a massive part of the appeal. Also, there is the element escapism. The reader is free to experience an intense,

Writers on Wednesday: Iris Blobel

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday. This week, I am chatting with Iris Blobel, author of the wonderful Beginnings series ... Tell me a bit about yourself … Okay… I was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. I’m married, have two beautiful daughters, work at a private school and present a German Program at the local radio every Wednesday. I’ve published a few books (lucky me, ey!) and have a few books that nobody seems to want (such is life!). I enjoy reading, mainly romance or crime, my favourite authors being Jill Shalvis and Lee Child. How am I doing so far? I live west of Melbourne, would love to live more south-west to be nearer to the beach, but, hey, you can’t have everything. I love travelling and I’m really lucky, so does the rest of the family! So, that’s where you can find us most of the holidays, in some corner of Australia in our caravan. Tell us about your most recently published book? “More

If This Car Were a Lady ...

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This one has been around for quite some time now, but I just had to share. I love the sentiment here ...

Friday Funnies: Look at that Bug!

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Review: I Say Tomato by Katie Wall

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I Say Tomato had, until a few days ago, the rare distinction of being the book that has sat on my to-read pile for the longest. I purchased it back in 2010 from a popular secondhand bookstore, slightly amazed that I had found a new release book there for less than three dollars. I took it home, placed it on my to-read pile and well ... I guess these things happen ... I Say Tomato is a brilliantly fun and entertaining novel about an Australian actor who is walking what has, in recent years, become a very familiar path for a lot of young actors. After a successful stint in a popular Australian television drama, she travels alone to LA to try her luck in Hollywood. From there, the reader is treated to an account of what Hollywood looks like through the eyes of a young Australian girl who probably isn't going to become a big star. Sunny is a refreshingly honest character though she is struggling a bit with what she wants out of life. A few months ago, back in Australia, her

Writers on Wednesday: Sharon L Norris

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday, this week I'm talking to an amazing Australian writer, Sharon L Norris ... Tell us a bit about yourself … Having written since I was about nine years old, my greatest dream was to become a published author. I’m thrilled to say that dream came true nearly a decade ago when the first of my four children’s books was accepted for publication. Now aged in my late forties, I’d love to tell you that I am living the writer’s dream and spending my days at the computer writing full time – but I can’t! I write around my full-time Government job, my family responsibilities (my youngest child is just entering high school) and my volunteer activities. Having lived all over my home state of Queensland while growing up, as well as a spell in England in my late twenties, I currently live in the small township of Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory. It’s a very remote location in eastern Arnhem Land – right at the top of the Gulf of Carpent

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Believe it or not, I actually bought my copy of Divergent before it became popular. In fact, it had probably only been available in Australia for a matter of days when I purchased this new YA novel from an unknown author. It was pretty obvious from the foil cover and endorsement on the front from bestselling author Melissa Marr that its publisher, HarperCollins was expecting it to be popular. Consequently, I could have been among the first to read what has gone on to become a very popular series with a huge following. But, you know, life comes with a whole lot of funny twists and turns and the other book I bought on the same trip to the bookshop just happened to be this one that everyone had been raving about for practically forever called  The Hunger Games. I intended to read The Hunger Games first and then Divergent .  And then I ended up reading both sequels to The Hunger Games. Somewhere between that and releases by some of my favourite authors, Divergent just sort of go

Review: The Nameless City by Michael Scott

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The Nameless City is the second in a year long series of eBooks released by Puffin in 2013 as a part of the 50th anniversary of  Doctor Who  celebrations. Each story was to feature a different incarnation of the Doctor, written by a different and well-established author of books for children and young adults. And despite catching this one rather late, I have to admit, this and the other stories prove to be one hell of a nostalgia trip for an old Whovian like myself. Consequently, I have decided to feature them all on here, every Sunday over the space of the next few weeks. The Second Doctor, as he appears on Wikipedia The Doctor: The Second Doctor  The Doctor's Companion: Jamie The Author: Michael Scott, Irish author of more than 100 books and most famous for the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. My Verdict: I am less familiar with the Second Doctor than I am with the first, so I cannot comment too much on the characterisation. In this advent

Cole's Funny Picture Book

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Okay. I confess. I am a huge fan of Professor Cole. For those of you who don't know, Professor Cole (who was not, in fact, a professor,) was a bit of an eccentric chap who was born in England, but travelled to Australia during the gold rush and became famous for establishing one of the most unusual bookstores in Australia, if not the world. At its peak, Coles Book Arcade, which was located in Melbourne, was home to an astounding two million books. And legend has it, Professor Cole wasn't terribly bothered if people paid for his books or not. The entrance to the arcade was decorated with a rainbow and there were many unusual relics inside, most of which were salvaged after the arcade closed during the depression and now live inside a museum in Melbourne. And the most famous book of all to come out of Cole's Book Arcade, is none other than Coles Funny Picture Book , a children's book filled with poetry and quirky Victorian era pictures. The highlight of the book

Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

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YA author Kami Garcia's first solo novel, Unbreakable , (she's one of the authors of the Beautiful Creatures series,) caused a bit of a storm when it was released in late 2013 and it is not difficult to see why. Unbreakable is an action packed, suspenseful novel with a decent heroine and an enjoyable romantic subplot. It's also bloody scary in places. Seriously. Back when I was a teenager, R.L. Stein and Christopher Pike were about as scary as it got. By comparison, this one feels like the bad arse big sister who has just grabbed the genre by the balls and now she won't let go. Brutal, but unputdownable. Sadly, the only thing that lets this one down is the premise. When Kennedy's mother dies suddenly, she is visited by a pair of identical twins (who just happen to be gorgeous but hey, this is YA fiction,) who reveal that her mother belonged to a secret society who protect the world from all kinds of evil, supernatural phenomena. And not only that, but f

Friday Funnies: Valentines Day

This Valentines Day, spare a thought for Charlie Brown ...

Writers On Wednesday: Andrew Leon

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday, that weekly post where I chat to a different writer. This time around I am chatting with the talented Andrew Leon, author of Shadow Spinner ... Tell us a bit about yourself … I was born a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... No, wait, that's the wrong one... I was working in a lab one day when lightning struck me through the window... Wait, still wrong. One night when I was out walking in the desert, a spaceship landed and gave me a super suit. There was this instruction manual... Okay, still not it. Yeah, I got nothing. Tell us about your most recently published, or about to be published, book? My most recent book is Shadow Spinner , which I released serially. I'm in the process of gathering all of the chapters into collections to make it easier to purchase in e-format now that I'm not making the chapters free anymore. It's also available all in one place as a physical book. Wha

Review: Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

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Rachel Cain is a YA/NA writer that most will associate with her popular series of books, The Morganville Vampires . (Of course, Cain has written many other works, however these are her most famous.) I have not yet read any of her other books be they Morganville Vampires or another series, which means that I got the opportunity to read her stand-alone retelling of Romeo and Juliet  without having anything that could potentially alter my opinion. Also, it's been more than fifteen years since I last studied Shakespeare's  Romeo and Juliet (in high school,) so I would have undoubtedly forgotten a number of the subtleties that exist within the story. Both of these things combined meant that I had the chance to read this one purely for pleasure and not as a critic. And, you know, sometimes that can be fun and the best way to let the story wash over you. In this retelling, we have a narrator, none of than Benvolio Montague, cousin of Romeo. In many way, this time around it is

Review: A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

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I really do not know what I was expecting when I purchased a copy of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing from my local bookstore last Saturday morning, but delving inside the pages, I soon discovered a coming-of-age tale that was every bit as uncomfortable as it was addictive. Set in Ireland, the book is told in a funny, stream-of-consciousness narrative that I found quite irritating at first, but it became easier to read as the novel went on. There is no real plot. We meet our unnamed heroine, discover that she has an older brother who almost died of childhood cancer and watch as she grows up against a backdrop of a broken and abusive family. Most the book is made up of the heroines perceptions of the world, which are based upon some pretty heart wrenching experiences--her relationship with her 'uncle' for example--and it makes for uncomfortable reading. I cannot say that I liked the heroine or any of the characters in the book, but then again, I don't think that I was supp

Feature and Follow Friday

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Time once again for Feature and Follow Friday, an awesome weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee  and Alison Can Read  designed to help book bloggers meet and connect. This weeks all-important question is: If you could read a book for the “first time” again, which book would it be? Why? Even though it probably feels a bit dated now (as it was first published in 1993,) I would choose Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. This one has so many amazing twists and turns as the lead characters fight to defend their country against invading forces. The heroine Ellie is not only a very strong young woman, but she is amazingly resourceful. I think a lot of modern YA heroines could take a leaf out of her book. The second book I would choose is one of my all-time favourites, Oliver Twist . I was amazed by just how different the book is to its most famous film adaption. It's actually quite dark. It surprised me that anyone could make a musical out of some of the subject matter.

Friday Funnies: Truffles

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For this weeks Friday Funnies, I am paying tribute to a minor character from the Peanuts comic strip, the delightful Truffles. Truffles appeared in two different storylines during the 1970s. In the first, Snoopy and Linus go out hunting for Truffles, but find themselves making friends with a doe-eyed brunette instead, who is named none other than Truffles. It is unknown where Truffles lives most of the time, but at present she is staying with her grandfather on his farm. It was, apparently, her grandfather who named her, stating that she is as rare as a truffle. After Snoopy and Linus leave, Linus is unable to make his way back to the farm, which devastates him, because he does not know how to find Truffles again. Fortunately, two years later, Linus and Truffles meet again on a school excursion.

Review: The Cinderella Moment by Jennifer Kloester

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After some heavy duty reading earlier this week with Kiss Me First , it was nice to delve into this beautifully written young adult romance. Far from being a typical tale of teen angst, The Cinderella Moment is a fun and romantic rags-to-riches tale set against a backdrop of New York and Paris. Angel wants to be a fashion designer, but all of the odds are against her, as she has neither money, nor the right social connections to make it in such an exclusive industry. With her dreams of entering the Teen Couture competition cruelly snatched away by the spoiled and scheming Clarissa who steals Angel's designs and then blackmails her, and with her mother ill and in hospital, Angel's future is looking bleak.  And then, Angel's best friend (and daughter of her mother's employer,) Lily comes up with a surprising scheme of her own. Lily, it seems, is desperate to study acting at a school in London, but her two weeks tuition clash with a trip to Paris to visit her gran

Writers on Wednesday: Julie McCullough

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Welcome back to Writers on Wednesday, that feature where we get to meet a different author every week and take a tiny little peek into their minds and careers. This week, I am talking with Australian author Julie McCullough ... Tell us a bit about yourself …  I am 48, married with 2 children, Dylan 11 and Ayla 9.  I live on a small farm near Rosedale in Qld, where I breed rare chooks, and also organically produce as much of our fresh food as possible, including making cheese with our own fresh milk.  I also do Remedial Massage at home. Tell us about your most recently published, or about to be published, book?  It is cryptically entitled, “Of Wolves and Wildflowers” – it is a contemporary romance/thriller with some adventure and some humour, and some tastefully done sex scenes. The novel is set in various locations around Australia.  Front and back blurbs can be found on my website. It has only been available since Friday the 6 th of Dec (6 days ago) but I am a